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A first for opening day of the legislative session: A possible special session

March 7th, 2017 by Mike Vasilinda

Florida’s lawmakers began their annual 60 say session this morning with an unusual amount of acrimony between the Governor and House Speaker over efforts to end business incentives. The speaker drew lines in the sand while the Governor poked back.

The opening day tradition of Floral arrangements didn’t disguise the underlying tension in the House Chamber. At the center of it, jobs incentives. House Speaker Richard Corcoran drew a line in the sand, saying the House would not back down on its efforts to end what he calls corporate welfare.

“Know this, that we will stand up and we will fight for the taxpayers” said Corcoran.

Corcoran also made it clear the House would not go along with the Governor’s plan to fund schools with rising property taxes.

We will not”

“Let the Governor be received.”

The tension has been so strong, all eyes were on Rick Scott to see if he would shake the Speakers hand.

He did.

Then Scott made his case for corporate subsidies, without singling out those who voted against him, as he did in their home districts.

“An unfortunately, mistakes are made sometimes, but you just don’t give up and shut down, take your ball and go home. You figure out what the problem is an dyou fix it. Let’s remember, we’re talking about people’s jobs” Scott told lawmakers,

The consensus after the speech? the Governor was wise not to pick a fight.

Sen. Tom Lee (R-Tampa) said he was worried before the speech but relieved afterwards. “Given what I thought where this could have gone, I thought the Governor did a great job of simply laying out his case in a positive sense” said Lee

And with 59 days left to negotiate, an on time ending for this bitter debate is still possible, but many consider doubtful.

Even the Speaker made the unusual suggestion today that lawmakers could go into overtime when he said “Even a special session isn’t a disaster; it’s just a longer, more complicated conversation.”

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